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Scarlet Sunrise: Optimism surrounding football season continues to grow

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Ohio State is hoping to play football this fall. (Spencer Holbrook/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Optimism surrounding football season continues to grow

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Optimism surrounding football season continues to grow

As states begin to open and the country begins to learn to live with the coronavirus, the conversation surrounding college football is heating up. But there seems to be growing optimism that a college football season will happen.

What safety precautions will need to be taken if there is a season? What could a modified season look like? What happens if a player tests positive for the virus? These are all questions that will need to be answered before a decision about a season is made. But that decision is a long way away.

Lettermen Row has plenty of content about the latest happenings and possibilities of a season this week. Check some of it out:

Jersey numbers seen as opportunities for future Buckeyes

Jersey numbers can become synonymous with players and their individual brands. Ohio State commitments are well-aware of that.

As the NCAA moves to allow players to profit off their name, image and likeness, brands are more important now than they ever have been, and the jersey number players wear could be a huge part of that personal brand each future Ohio State player will have to consider. So, are jersey numbers really important? Lettermen Row Director of Recruiting Jeremy Birmingham broke that down:

Current Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard, who wears No. 47, needed the help of Urban Meyer — who reached out to the family of Buckeyes legend Chic Harley — to get his number because 47 was enshrined in 2004. Sawyer may need that same kind of assist to make sure he gets his number. At a place like Ohio State, memories of certain players are often stoked by the number they wore and that’s why even numbers that aren’t “retired”need to be thoughtfully considered before putting them on. That’s something Ironton (Ohio) 4-star linebacker Reid Carrico, who wears No. 28 now because as a young running back he looked up to Adrian Peterson, is considering as he looks to the future.

He wants his number to evoke the same response in others that some of the great linebackers in Buckeyes history do for him.

For more on jersey numbers, click here.

How much will Ohio State use Justin Fields in run game?

Ohio State made sure to be careful with Justin Fields in the run game a season ago. J.K. Dobbins’ 2,000-yard season made it easier to keep Fields out of harms way in the rushing attack. But Dobbins is gone now, and the Buckeyes will be forced to weigh the risks that come with Fields scrambling out of the pocket as well as keeping the ball for designed run plays.

Lettermen Row senior writer Austin Ward broke down the advantages and disadvantages of having Fields tuck the ball and run. It’s a tough balance to find. Part of the story from earlier this week is here:

Fields isn’t invincible, and the knee injury he suffered in November was just one of a dozen what-if scenarios in the Fiesta Bowl that slipped away from the Buckeyes. Now, Fields was hurt on a play that was designed as a pass against Penn State, and he still did more than enough even while limited to put Ohio State in position for a win over Clemson. But he clearly wasn’t himself physically, and the mobility of Fields is probably only a necessity against elite competition as an X-factor.

For the full story, make sure to head here for more.

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Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A recent graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his first year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.

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